Today, healthcare provision in the United States has grown into a complex system with many factors affecting it. The presence of numerous healthcare facilities is not the major factor affecting the health care system. Financial policies, technology, training of medical personnel, ethical issues in reform, and the individual perspectives of the citizens are some of the major factors affecting the provision of healthcare in the United States, now and in the future.
Difficult Issues in Health Care Today In the United States
Lack of Health Insurance Covers
For any individual, keeping a good health record involves regular visits to a doctor. Prompt response to negative health conditions is also necessary. A significant number of families in the United States cannot afford to cover the expenses for regular health checkups. Health Insurance policies can pay for regular health checkups for any individual with ease.
The government estimates indicate that nearly fifty million people do not have valid health insurance policies in the United States. These people only seek medical attention when their health condition has seriously deteriorated to a point where full recovery takes considerable effort to achieve. The cost of treating diseases at their advanced stages is much more than the cost of administering regular preventive measures (Kerkoff, 2009).
Disproportionate Staffing In the Health Care Sector
While medical schools may be training enough medical personnel for the citizens of the United States, most of the graduates do not make provision of general health care services seriously. It is usual for newly trained medics to specialize in specific human health disciplines. This is because specialists earn more than medics who provide basic health care such as routine health checkups. The staffing problem also includes a shortage of nursing care, which is crucial for the provision of quality health care.
This is a result of a significantly small number of nursing school graduates. The high cost of training nursing personnel has strained nursing training colleges prompting the closure of some of the schools (Kerkoff, 2009). In addition, many nursing schools in operation are limiting the number of students they admit each year due to financial problems.
Unnecessary Rise of Cost of Health Services (Cost Inflation)
The third most significant challenge in the healthcare system is the continued rise of the cost of health services. The public and the healthcare system often overvalue technological advances. Consequently, healthcare provision has turned into a prime field for moneymaking investments. These investments are in form of advanced diagnostic equipment. New diagnostic and remedial procedures are overvalued compared to their effectiveness and quality (Handler, 2009). Some citizens of the United States cannot afford medical services due to the exaggerated costs of remedial and diagnostic procedures.
Impact of Technology on Health Care Services
Role of Information Technology in Record Keeping
Information technology has led to the improvement of health care services in the United States in recent years. Due to the advancement of computer technology, patients can have their detailed medical history recorded and stored by health care institutions, and even personal doctors. This medical history is used to assess the present clinical condition of a patient to facilitate important decisions by medics (Cohen & Hanft, 2004). Accurate diagnostic and remedial procedures can be administered to the patients.
Technology, Diagnosis and Remedy
The development of advanced diagnostic equipment is also an important contribution of technology to improved healthcare. Diagnostic imaging devices are the most significant breakthrough in modern medicine. Condition of the tissue inside a human body can be observed without any requirement of a surgical procedure. This technology is important for the diagnosis of chronic conditions, and monitoring of pregnancies in expectant women (Frank, 2009). It is also possible to treat some genetic defects and chronic conditions such as cancerous growths through technologies using the concept of the radioactivity of elements.
Information of the Public through the Internet
The internet has also contributed to the health awareness of the public. Risky lifestyles can be avoided through the provision of the necessary information to citizens. Diagnostic services are available through the internet for minor clinical conditions (Nichols, 2010).
Impact of Healthcare at the International Level on United States’ Healthcare System
Health reforms that target international standards require radical changes in the healthcare system. The current healthcare provision requires the highest spending when compared to other developed countries with a similar health care structure. The quality of healthcare in the United States is based on the budget, such that high-quality health services are deemed expensive. Healthcare provision at the international level requires radical financial reforms in the health sector.
Ethical Issues Affecting Future Reforms in Health Care Provision
While the authorities strive to provide an environment where everyone has access to quality health care, there are ethical considerations to be made for the future. Some people maintain that personal health is an individual responsibility, and cannot be imposed on people (Morrison & Monagle, 2009). The best solution, according to some analysts, is enhancement of awareness of the public to promote best health practices (Kerkoff, 2009).
On the other hand, a different ethical standing is that the government should provide a uniform and standard healthcare regime for all people. This perspective assumes that an individual may not be in a position to identify the best health solutions in his or her life.
Evidently, the health care system in the United States requires extensive reforms. Financial policies are the obvious major target for these reforms. In addition, there is need to harmonize the current health care policies with the international standards for the sake of efficiency.
Cohen, A. B., & Hanft, R. S. (2004). Technology in American health care: policy directions for effective evaluation and management. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Frank, R. (2009). Ways Technology Has Changed the Medical Field. Health Care Systems, 1-6.
Handler, S. (2009). Cost inflation: The most important problem facing healthcare. Voice is Just the Beggining, 3-12.
Kerkoff, T. (2009). Ethical Issues: Ethics and Healthcare Reform. Better Resources for Health Care, 475-477.
Morrison, E. E., & Monagle, J. F. (2009). Health care ethics: critical issues for the 21st century (2nd ed.). Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Nichols, R. (2010). Ways Health-Care Reform Will Impact Government IT. Government Technology, 2-10.